The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Interim Chancellor Sheryl Van Gruensven and Provost and Chancellor-elect Michael Alexander to faculty and staff on Friday, April 24, 2020.
It’s the people at this University that give UW-Green Bay its life and strength. We are extremely proud of where we have been able to take the University, collectively, in the last few years—overcoming fiscal challenges with thoughtful planning, quick response and meeting enrollment challenges head-on. We believe in UW-Green Bay. We believe in each of you.
Please watch this video as we discuss the difficult times ahead and the decision to implement furloughs to protect the future of the University.
It is terribly unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our hand. Today, we must announce plans to enact furloughs at UW-Green Bay to protect the future of the institution. This disruption in our lives and our livelihood is one that is greatly disappointing, considering the amazing momentum we had heading into the 2020-21 academic year. Although our financial health is not in jeopardy at this particular time, the reality is, we lost $3 million in revenue in just the past month and we must navigate risk until we can find some level of normalcy. We must also position ourselves to maintain healthy cash balances in the event we experience additional losses in revenue and other funding sources.
To that end, beginning with May 2, 2020, 227 staff members will be placed on furlough. All staff members who are to be furloughed received the news via their supervisors in the last 24 hours. With furloughs, as opposed to layoffs, we know that our staff will maintain their benefits and be eligible for unemployment compensation during the time they are furloughed.
In addition to furloughs of some of its staff members, Green Bay Athletics announced today that it will be suspending its men’s and women’s tennis teams indefinitely at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year. Several long-standing challenges have continued to hinder the opportunity for growth of the program and have contributed to rising costs and outpacing revenue, the most significant of which is the lack of an on-campus tennis facility and off-campus rental. Based on past expenditures, the suspension of these two programs will result in a savings of approximately $170,000 operationally per year and $160,000 in athletic tuition scholarships awarded per year. This decision does not impact Division I status nor membership in the Horizon League. See the full statement from Athletics.
Here are the answers to some questions you may have:
Q. How long will staff members be furloughed?
A. The current furlough will run May 2 through May 31, 2020
Q. Who will be affected?
A. 227 employees; 111 Academic Staff and 116 University Staff, totaling 2,907 furlough days. In addition, all staff making more than $100,000 will take intermittent furloughs.
Q. How was it determined who would receive furloughs?
A. When Governor Evers announced last week that he was extending Safer at Home through May 26, the campus made a decision to close until May 31. As a result, employees who are not able to perform the greatest part of their duties from home were selected for furlough. This was after consultation with deans and division leaders
Q. What cost savings does this amount to?
A. UW-Green Bay expects to see about $250,000 in cost recovery with the furlough, in addition to the savings from International Education and Athletics.
Q. Why weren’t faculty furloughed?
A. Nine-month employees are exempt from furloughs this fiscal year.
Q. Where can we furloughed employees turn to help navigate next steps?
A. Furloughed employees can start with the UW System Employee Benefits site regarding furloughs.
Q. What happens after May 31, 2020?
A. Like you, we hope for better times ahead. We will be giving a presentation on the state of the University on May 1 and can give you more details at that time about our strategy for moving forward through the pandemic.
Sheryl Van Gruensven
Provost and Chancellor-elect